Saluran Seludup

Gejala penyeludupan yang kemungkinan makin menular dikalangan warga Malaysia, termasuk golongan immigran negara, lambas laun akan bergerak menjadi encaman sekiranya telah pun menjejaskan kepentingan negara.

Laporan Utusan Malaysia:

Rokok seludup RM4.2 juta dirampas

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10 Ogos 2019 11:18 AM





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KUALA LUMPUR 10 Ogos – Polis menumpaskan sindiket pengedaran rokok seludup dengan merampas sebanyak 25,750 karton rokok jenama U2 bernilai RM4.2 juta selepas cukai taksiran menerusi operasi khas di Mersing, Johor, semalam.

Pengarah Jabatan Keselamatan Dalam Negeri dan Ketenteraman Awam (KDNKA) Bukit Aman, Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani berkata, operasi dijalankan Bahagian Perisikan dan Siasatan Khas, Pasukan Gerakan Khas jabatan itu selepas mendapat maklumat daripada orang awam.

Ujarnya, sindiket itu dipercayai aktif menjalankan aktiviti pengedaran rokok seludup di kawasan Semenanjung Malaysia.
“Dalam operasi tersebut, kita turut menahan lima lelaki tempatan berusia lingkungan 23 hingga 37 tahun. 
“Selain rampasan rokok, kita juga menyita sebuah lori dan sebuah kereta Proton Wira yang digunakan sindiket untuk menjalankan aktiviti penyeludupan,” katanya dalam satu kenyataan di sini hari ini.
Tambah Acryl Sani, kesemua suspek ditahan reman di Ibu pejabat Polis Daerah Mersing selama tiga hari bermula semalam sehingga esok bagi membantu siasatan di bawah Seksyen 135(1)(d) Akta Kastam 1967. – UTUSAN ONLINE

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Mungkin rokok dipandang sebagai perkara remeh sekiranya ianya penyeludupan bahan yang menjadi sebahagian dari konsumsi warga Malaysia, termasuk golongan imigran.

Menurut laporan pakar, negara kerugian jumlah pendapatan kasar lebih RM6 billion setahun akibat penyeludupan rokok.

Ianya tidak setakat daripada industri rokok tempatan, termasuk pendapatan kepada Kerajaan melalui cukai, duti import dan lesen, tetapi agihan pendapatan daripada industri tersebut dalam bentuk perniagaan, pendapatan pekerja dan petani tembakau.

Penyeludupan rokok juga merupakan ancaman yang luar daripada jawapan pihak berwajib.

Bahaya ini akan meninggalkan kesan kepada seluruh eko-sistem peruncitan, terutama dikedai-kedai makan, pusat istirehat dan maupun kedai runcit-mudah (convenient store), stesyen minuak dan sebagainya yang sebenarnya makin bertambah.

Published in: on August 15, 2019 at 22:00  Leave a Comment  

“Brace! Brace! Brace!”

It is unclear how brash and rude should the Malaysian Government or any of it agencies do to treat China or any major firms from one day would to be the global’s leading economy but this ought not to be a foremost option.

The Straits Times story:

Malaysia seizes $328 million held by Chinese state-owned unit in HSBC

Leslie Lopez

Regional Correspondent

In Kuala Lumpur

Malaysian authorities have seized more than RM1 billion ($328 million) held by China Petroleum Pipeline Engineering Ltd (CPP), a Chinese state-owned company.

In an unprecedented move in Malaysian banking, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government ordered global banking giant, HSBC, early this month to transfer the funds held in CPP’s account in Malaysia to Suria Strategic Resources Sdn Bhd, which is wholly owned by the Ministry of Finance.

The moves came against the backdrop of an ongoing dispute involving two multi-billion-dollar energy pipeline projects that were suspended last July, said lawyers and bankers familiar with the situation.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, CPP, which was the lead contractor for the pipeline projects awarded in November 2016 by the previous government of prime minister Najib Razak, confirmed that the funds were transferred out.

“CPP firmly abides with the laws of Malaysia and is perplexed by the unilateral transfer of monies without notifying CPP,” said the company, a unit of China’s state-owned oil and gas giant China National Petroleum Corp.

The HSBC corporate office in Kuala Lumpur declined comment, citing client confidentiality.

It is currently unclear why the money was seized nor what powers the government used to seize it.

CPP added that it is currently speaking to the relevant parties in a bid understand the basis of the transfer.

“Once we have further information, CPP will take the necessary and appropriate actions to protect its rights. We hope that our Malaysian counterparts can resolve this with us through amicable means,” the company said.

Bilateral ties between Beijing and Kuala Lumpur turned tense shortly after the PH government came into power in May last year and started reviewing or cancelling a series of high-profile deals with China reached during the Najib administration. Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad ordered the suspension of the multi-billion-dollar East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and the two CPP-led pipeline projects.

The ECRL project – which will stretch along the east coast from Kota Baru, in the north-east, to Kuantan before cutting across the peninsula to Port Klang on the west coast along the Strait of Malacca – has since been revived under refined (CHECKING: Should we use “revised” instead of “refined” CAN CHANGE TO REVISED) terms and will now be built at an estimated cost of RM44 billion, down sharply from the original price tag of RM66.5 billion.

But the CPP pipeline projects – a 600km multi-product pipeline along the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia costing RM5.35 billion and a gas pipeline network in the east Malaysian state of Sabah costing RM.4.06 billion – have remained in limbo.

The PH government is also questioning why roughly RM8.3 billion, or 88% of the contract value of RM9.41 billion, was paid out by the previous government through the Ministry of Finance-owned Suria Strategic Resources despite only 13% of the work purportedly being completed.

Bankers familiar with the situation said that following the suspension of the pipeline project certain bank accounts held by CPP, including the monies in HSBC, were frozen by the Malaysian government.

At the time of the suspension of the pipeline projects, Malaysian press reports alleged that the monies initially paid out by Suria Strategic Resources were diverted to third-party Cayman Island companies linked to the scandal at 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). But CPP has strenuously denied those allegations.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Latheefa Koya did not respond to queries about the latest government move.

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Giving face and providing grace is very important for business, if not global international diplomacy. Especially more so for China.

Unless the intent is a direction beyond the boundaries of friendship.

Malaysia is in a very precarious trade and foreign relations which China. Upon the 9 May 14 GE took over last year, Gerontocracy Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad took very tough and ‘unfriendly’ gestures with China.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng was even more arrogant when it comes to all dealings by firms, from China.

The much coveted ECRL was cancellation was announced unilaterally, that brought forth a knee-jerk reaction.

Then Gerontocracy Prime Minister and some of his Cabinet colleagues, which include the Chairman of the Council of Elders went to China and smoothen out all of these bad blood between us and the Super Power.

Otherwise, the Malaysian people would start to get use to the international air travel instruction before an aircraft do a very rough landing.

Published in: on July 13, 2019 at 19:00  Leave a Comment  

Carouseling past ghosts

The ghouls of ghost of Christmas past came haunting, when the Government under Gerontocracy Prime Minister no longer want to continue subsidies for small holders but instead coming with a scheme for small holders by project management instead of amalgamation

The Star story:

‘Merge settlers’ land for higher yields’


ROMPIN: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has proposed an amalgamation of Felda settlers’ land for greater wealth and benefits.

The Prime Minister said settlers would contribute their land, which when merged must be managed by professional estate managers.

“That way, I am confident the amalgamated land can produce higher yields. The profits will then be divided accordingly among the settlers who contributed their land,” he told reporters after attending the Felda Settlers’ Day celebration at Felda Selancar 3 here yesterday.

Dr Mahathir said part of the combined land could also be allocated for other crops.

“If there is diversity over a large area, not only can we fulfil the local but foreign demand as well,” he said, adding that the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry would advise on what crops would be suitable.

However, Dr Mahathir admitted that it would be difficult to change settlers’ behaviour as many of them were now senior citizens and were used to doing things the old way.

“We used to give management of the land to the settlers but they can’t adjust their way of life. Today, farming vegetables and fruits can give better returns than palm oil or rubber but they are still sticking to the old crops.

“Perhaps, of a 2,000-acre piece of land, 200 acres can be used for other crops while the rest is planted with oil palm,” he said.

In his speech, Dr Mahathir said settlers would face problems when the price of palm oil dropped due to their over-reliance on a single crop.

He said settlers would then ask for subsidies unlike the large estates which were managed professionally.

“Even when you have 10 acres of land and have good crops, it will not give as good as the returns of 10,000 acres of land.

“That is why settlers always suffer when the price of rubber or palm oil drops,” he said.

During the event, Dr Mahathir also launched the Settlers Development Programme to help increase their income.

The programme was part of a comprehensive action plan based on smart farming and innovative downstream activities.

To implement the programme, the government had approved RM1bil in grant allocations that would be disbursed in stages over four years.

Also present were Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail, Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh and Felda director-general Datuk Dr Othman Omar.

Azmin said Felda must no longer be used as a tool by politicians.

“Unfortunately, over the past years, we have politicians who played politics until the settlers became victims and were burdened with major problems.

“Today, I stand before you to tell you not to let politicians use Felda settlers any longer for their political interests,” he added.


Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/07/08/merge-settlers-land-for-higher-yields/#s2etOerWZQxjhmUQ.99

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More than half of the said million acres of FELDA settlers are already under FELDA Technoplant (FTPSB) program. Precisely, 55%.

It is a professionally run estate-like project management program for FELDA settlers.

If the program is already on going and already proven to provide positive result, what exactly is Gerontocracy Prime Minister talking about on Hari Peneroka Kebangsaan?

Repackaging a recycled product and reselling?

Isn’t that, “Playing politics”?

For the record, FTPSB has been around over a quarter of century. Means it was incepted dead centre in Gerontocracy Prime Minister previous administration.

If the ongoing FTPSB program isn’t about getting the one million acres by the 113,000 odd FELDA settlers’ smallholding professionally managed, then is the fresh minted proposed FELDA program is about re-amalgamation of the 45% remaining acreage currently not under FTPSB?

Would this exercise require more capital, for either FELDA or FTPSB, which is very scarce for the Federal Government?

Perhaps, the capital could be best utilised for other programs like propping the commodity price or getting more downstream industries set up, within the nuclei of the FELDA hinterland.

Perhaps, it is an avenue for a corporate exercise for the benefit of the selected few.

On the note of “Playing politics”, having the ‘two tigers on the same hill’ already manifested its danger.

One tiger may have growled that he would not quit but to get a fierce tiger to be ‘humiliated’ in the circus of global spectators is uncalled for.

It takes a lot to convince the 113,000 odd FELDA settlers and a simple speech at Hari Peneroka Kebangsaan wouldn’t quite do.

Then again the ‘FELDA icon’ star celebrity Chef Redzuan “Dumpster Mouth” Ismail’s faux pas is terribly demeaning towards the FELDA settlers.

NST story:

‘Felda settlers must work hard’ – Chef Wan

KUALA LUMPUR: Celebrity chef Datuk Redzuawan Ismail or Chef Wan has just been named a Felda Icon by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Rompin yesterday.

Upon accepting the Felda Icon Award, Chef Wan took to Instagram to tick off “lazy” Felda settlers who refused to help themselves and waited for the Government’s help.

He said: “As the price of palm oil is not certain, Felda settlers should work hard to cultivate cash crops to supplement their income. It will help us reduce our dependency on imported food.

“Malaysia is blessed with good soil and there is a lot of idle land. The Government should privatise this land for cash crops.

“I’ve travelled to Australia, Norway and Sweden for my TV shows and saw how the people cultivate cash crops and raise livestock, making full use of the land and contributing to the economy.

“Back home, many of my fellow Felda settlers sell off fertiliser subsidies given to them by the Government, and when they receive dividends, they marry two or three times and ‘breed like cats’!

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Perhaps there should be a hybrid program with successful plantation GLCs, for this to quite work.

A proper crisis management task force with all stakeholders and a global task force should be formed and project managed.

Otherwise, Gerontocracy Prime Minister would have the ample time to resolve the matter.

Former Deputy Minister in-charge of FELDA Ahmad Hj Maslan is spot on about resolving FELDA settlers’ debt is one of the top ten Pakatan Harapan Manifesto.

FELDA settlers don’t quite see the way out of their conundrum but being taken around the carousel, with the ghost of Christmas past.

Majority of them are in debt for the re-plantation programs and now the commodity price is all time low, these FELDA settlers are caught with their pants down.

The attitude of Gerontocracy Prime Minister’s administration to no longer fend the FELDA settlers in challenging times, is adding salt to injury.

Perhaps in Gerontocracy Prime Minister’s tendency to crave for global attention for universal and geopolitical sensational issues, he should take up the lead for a global level task force for palm oil.

Demonstrate some meaningful effort which would be convincing enough that the current Federal Government isn’t at all an incompetent one but able to provide some practical solutions to hardline issues that the nation is facing.

Probably, that’s why they walked out in droves during the Hari Peneroka event.

*Updated 1845hours

The Minister in-charge of FELDA defended the ‘Dumpster Mouth’ instead of standing up for the four million extended FELDA family:

NST story:

Azmin defends Felda settlers over Chef Wan’s ‘lazy’, ‘breed like cats’ remarks

KUALA LUMPUR: Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali today defended Felda settlers who were branded “lazy” and “breeding like cats” by celebrity chef Datuk Redzuawan Ismail, popularly known as Chef Wan.

Azmin said the latter’s view of the settlers was a personal one.

He said he believed that Felda settlers had a bright future and potential if they continued to support the government’s initiatives.

“Never mind, it was his (Chef Wan’s) personal view. What is important right now is as the government, we have tabled a new policy in Parliament for Felda settlers.

“Yesterday, we could see that the prime minister’s (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) speech received a positive reaction from the settlers.

“This morning, I had a discussion with the prime minister and he wants action to be taken immediately to ensure the success of the initiative,” he told reporters in Parliament.

Published in: on July 8, 2019 at 16:30  Leave a Comment  

Paying peanuts for pros

The new business philosophy of ‘Paying peanuts for pros’ has suddenly re-emerged with the Malaysia Baharu under Gerontocracy Prime Minister.

NST story:

KUALA LUMPUR: FGV Holdings Bhd shareholders have today shown dissatisfaction towards their board of directors’ performance when they voted to reject their pay packages.

Last year, FGV posted net losses of RM1.08 billion, dragged by falling palm oil prices as well as impairments and provisions totalling RM1.04 billion. This was on the back of RM3.23 billion revenue.

FGV chairman Datuk Wira Azhar Abdul Hamid said all directors had been re-elected but resolutions related to their pay packages had been rejected by major shareholders Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), Koperasi Permodalan Felda and Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera.

Azhar said FGV board members were currently discussing the most appropriate thing to do and looking at all options available.

“I, myself, don’t know the basis for the major shareholders to reject the board of directors’ remuneration package.

“It seems that the shareholders’ message to the board of directors is ‘we want you to work but we’re not paying you’ which I think is a little bit irrational,” Azhar told reporters after a gruelling five-hour FGV shareholders’ meeting here today.

According to FGV’s 2018 annual report, its board of directors consists of Azhar, Mohd Hassan Ahmad, Datuk Dr. Othman Omar, Datuk Yusli Mohamed Yusoff, Datuk Mohamed Suffian Awang, Datuk Dr. Salmiah Ahmad, Dr. Mohamed Nazeeb P.Alithambi, Datuk Mohd Anwar Yahya, Dr. Nesadurai Kalanithi and Datin Hoi Lai Ping.

Based on FGV’s 2018 annual report, the fee payable to Azhar as chairman of the board was RM1.95 million, versus the total remuneration of RM5.74 million for the board, which consists of 10 members.

When asked if FGV directors would resign, Azhar said: “There is no immediate decision among directors, for now. We are considering all options.”

He stressed that FGV directors were responsible and professional in executing their duties.

“We consider all factors carefully to put forward plans that would ensure sustainability of FGV. But today’s vote gives the impression that our efforts for the past 18 months are not appreciated,” Azhar said, dejectedly.

To another question if FGV directors would go on working without being paid, Azhar reiterated that the board had yet to collectively decide on their next move.

“What concerns us most is the interests of the company,” he remarked.

Felda is FGV’s biggest shareholder with a 33.7 per cent stake, while KPF and LTAT own 5.25 per cent and 1.25 per cent respectively.

The rejected resolutions were specifically to approve the payment of 2018’s directors’ fees, payment of a portion of directors’ fees payable from June 26, 2019 until the next annual general meeting (AGM), and the payment of benefits payable from June 26 until the next AGM.

Shareholders also rejected the resolution for directors to allot and issue shares pursuant to Section 75 of the Companies Act, 2016.

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This is not the first time the question of pay for directors and executives of civil servants and GLCs, even the listed firms, have been openly raised by the leadership.

It is presumed that the large shareholders, adhered to the wishes of their Boss.

In the recent months, Gerontocracy Prime Minister and his adviser have sounded out that professionals in strategic places should do “national service”.

Probably to be thrifty on the kitty is required in these trying times.

However, how is the Government ensuring that they are getting the best talents to serve their cause.

Civil servants and executives, including in the listed firms are mostly those who have had considerable experience and exposure.

Some, for almost half a century.

Take the BoD of Khazanah Nasional Bhd which decided to leave literally weeks after the present Government was formed.

Never mind the cold shoulder treatment they have gotten. The consolidated corporate experience the entire BoD at the time of departure is a quarter of Millenium, plus or minus a few dead years.

Perhaps Gerontocracy Prime Minister could get replacement talents for those who prefer or asked to leave.

Then again, the issue would these ‘peanuts paying pros’ be providing the best of themselves, for the ‘national service’ that they are providing.

Or they are just serving to pander the stop-gap leadership of Gerontocracy Prime Minister, who may or not be around in the mid term of the mandatory electoral period.

The rakyat did decide on the ruling party for what it was in their expectation, slightly over a year ago.

The general feeling is that they did not get a good deal for their political decision. It is believed that many of them who made the decision overpowered by sentiments, have now be quietened for the outcome that they have to face.

This AGM is also something alarming. The general public is wondering whether or not the BoD consulted the significant shareholders for their proposed resolutions, to be passed at the mandatory meeting.

Then there is also the ganging up of significant shareholders to shoot down the BoD proposal, in the open.

The Star story:

Unmasking the FGV remuneration saga


THE recent freeze on the remuneration payout of FGV Holdings Bhd (FGV) directors by its three major and substantial shareholders especially Felda – while is understandable from the perspective of financial performance – also has that tinge of irony resembling “a father/mother disciplining his/her child in public”.

At FGV’s marathon annual general meeting which lasted five hours on June 25, the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) which is FGV’s biggest shareholder with a 33.67% stake – alongside Koperasi Permodalan Felda Malaysia Bhd (5%) and the Armed Forces Fund Board (1.25%) – had voted against three resolutions pertaining to the remuneration of FGV’s directors.

Under resolution one, FGV sought its shareholders’ approval for payment of directors’ fees amounting to RM2.55 million in respect of financial year ended Dec 31, 2018 (FY2018).

Resolution two involves payment of a portion of directors’ fees to non-executive directors up to an amount of RM1.18 million from June 26, 2019 until the company’s next AGM while resolution three sought shareholders’ approval for the payment of benefits to non-executive directors from June 26, 2019 until the company’s next AGM.

As a conduit for communication, I wonder if he had ever engaged the FGV board to raise his objection on the remuneration issue prior to the AGM.

If yes, did the FGV board provide satisfactory explanation or justification over the quantum? Assuming that the FGV board had stated its stance on the matter, shouldn’t he initiate an engagement between both the Felda and FGV boards to reach an understanding, thus resolving any impending concerns beforehand?

Otherwise, one cannot be blamed to think that the board nominee could not have chosen a better timing to drop a bombshell. This is given, it is a rarity for shareholders to re-elect the board of directors but voted against resolutions related to the directors’ remuneration.

Writing is on the wall

After all, tell-tale signs of a friction within the Felda family has become more visible to the public of late which FGV Chairman Datuk Wira Azhar Abdul Hamid has vehemently denied at the recently concluded AGM. 

Media reports have surfaced in recent times that Felda is reviewing its land lease agreement (LLA) with FGV.

In retrospect, Felda handed over the management of some 355,000ha of its plantations via a 99-year LLA to FGV as part of the latter’s flotation exercise in 2012. In return, Felda was to receive payments of RM248 million annually as leasing fee in addition to a share of profits at a quantum of 15% per annum.

However, in view of a dip in crude palm oil (CPO) prices, FGV is only able to fork out an average of RM400mil a year in contrast to Felda’s minimum requirement of RM800mil per annum to manage and ensure the well-being of land settlers.

The recent stepping down of Felda chairman Tan Sri Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor after barely 11 months appointed to the post is perhaps a harbinger of worsening discord within the Felda family although Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has played down the resignation by pointing to “health reasons”.Back to the drawing board

Given that both communication and engagement are crucial tools to strengthen rapport with shareholders, perhaps the FGV board should in the future be more proactive in engaging with their major and substantial shareholders as well as the various institutional investors.

After all, engagement with relevant stakeholders is very crucial for better understanding of the company’s operations apart from being a perfect avenue for the company to update its performance which is very much under public scrutiny of late.

This applies to engagements at both external level and even those with internal link. A case in point was the very fact that the proxy of Koperasi Permodalan Felda Malaysia raised certain concerns which struck the mind as if the FGV Board has turned a deaf ear or not interested in addressing the grievances raised by the members of the cooperative.

Now that shareholders had voted against the remuneration package at the AGM, the only option to “unfreeze” the directors’ remuneration package is to call for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to seek a fresh mandate.

But this can be seen as a waste of money and resources, which can be better used to manage the array of challenges on the business front that FGV is facing.

At the end of the day, while I agree that directors’ remuneration should be linked to performance, perhaps a little leeway can be considered for a turnaround company in the likes of FGV. Perhaps a reasonable degree of appreciation should be accorded to the new board members as a form of motivation for their efforts and commitment. 

Give them time

My humble view is to give them a year to bring about a desired degree of turnaround bearing in mind the atrocious financial situation FGV is in right now. After all, the FGV board members are all newly appointed.

Having been duly re-elected, it will be unfair to deny the directors meeting allowances and other critical benefits when a herculean task is expected of them all. Moving forward, my reckoning is that the chief concern should not just centre on the quantum of remuneration but how to engage major and substantial shareholders to foster better understanding and acceptance of the issues at hand and how to tackle them effectively. 

An outright rejection as per the outcome of FGV’s recent AGM may be too harsh on the directors who are all expected to commit and work hard to provide directions to turnaround the company.

Worst still, this can invite repercussion given that the directors – unhappy that they are deprived of their fees and other perks – might simply decide to resign en masse. This can then be a major blow to FGV which will have to waste more time and resources to recruit new directors.

Surely, in this age and time, we cannot longer expect people to render national service without being duly compensated for their efforts and commitments. Even our athletes who excel at world stage are conferred monetary rewards as a form of appreciating their sacrifices to the country.

What is done is done but looking back, I cannot help thinking that the current impasse could be avoided at all cost if the board of FGV has done the necessary shareholder engagements (especially with major shareholders and institutional investors) while not take things for granted.

This is itself an invaluable lesson to other companies on never undermining the importance of shareholder engagements and their voices.

The views expressed in the article represent the views of the writer and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Institutional Investors Council of Malaysia (IIC).

Lya Rahman is currently the adviser/secretary to the IIC. She was formerly general manager of the Minority Shareholders Watch Group.


Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2019/06/29/unmasking-the-fgv-remuneration-saga/#dG4jLof5HX2CZtVq.99

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FGV Chairman Dato Wira Azhar Abdul Hamid is a corporate leader known for speaking his mind up and standing up, for responsibilities.

As the CEO of MRT Corp, Azhar summarily quit almost five years when construction workers died in an accident during the construction of the Sg Buloh-Kajang line.

Azhar, who was in the largest oil palm plantation conglomerate Sime Darby since 1992 replaced Tan Sri Isa Samad as FGV Chairman in 2017.

Published in: on June 30, 2019 at 12:00  Leave a Comment  

Big dreams (courtesy of Istana Bukit Tunku) morning

Economic development plans and strategic programs for Kedah is almost non-realisable for Dato’ Seri Mukhriz Mahathir’s second round of Menteri Besar-ship but with the exception of his personal obsession of building a brand new airport for Northern Corridor which is in South Kedah area.

NST story:

RM1.6 billion Kulim International Airport project will kick off, not mere words – Kedah MB

DECEMBER 13, 2018 @ 6:00PM  

BY HAMZAH OSMAN

It is very interesting that MB Mukhriz is focused on capitalising on the limitation of Penang’s Bayan Lepas International Airport not able for further expansion and the growth potential for air logistics, particularly cargo operations.

The NST report also mentioned that Federal Government is not against this infrastructure project, provided if it is developed on a Private Financing Initiative (PFI).

It is interesting how to mobilise this project fully on PFI model.

First of all, thousands of acres are required to be acquired for the project, to start with.

Then the construction. At the same time, all the leg work to get the airport operations and businesses, particularly to get international cargo traffic into the new airport.

Usually, a new airport would either be in an existing one or operations of an original airport be transferred into the new one.

Just like KLIA moved from Subang to its present site in Sepang in August 1997. Later, Subang was turned into a community airport.

There is definitely merit in this idea. However, it is an infrastructure right at the top of the pyramid and lesser but more realisable low fruit infrastructure projects MB Mukhriz should give attention to and priority, ahead of such a mega project.

The Kedah State Government isn’t in the position to start this mega project of. They neither have the capital nor competency.

It is then up to other agencies, like Northern Corridor, to kick this off. Along with firms with massive estates in the said area, like Sime Darby Plantations.

Then again, if Sime Darby Plantations would be game in such a strategic investment.

The new Kulim cargo airport would have to ‘pinch’ the growth now being enjoyed by Penang International.

The Star story:

Export cargo volume at Penang airport seen rising 8%


GEORGE TOWN: The volume of export cargo handled at the Penang International Airport is projected to rise by 8% in 2018 to 69,630 tonnes from 65,747 tonnes in 2017.

Penang Freight Forwarders Association secretary-general Ali Ahmad told StarBiz the increase indicated that the local electrical and electronic (E&E) industries was in a healthy state.

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“The feedback on export figures for the third quarter has been positive.

“We expect a slight decrease in the final quarter, as most of the finished electronic goods have already been shipped out in the third quarter,” he said.

Finished electronic goods make up about 70% of the export cargo, according to Ali.

“The export from the Free Industrial Zone has risen steadily since three years ago,” he said.

The imported cargo handled, however, is forecast to decline by 12% to 58,000 tonnes from 65,305 tonnes in 2017.

“The decrease has to do with a weaker ringgit, which made buying from overseas expensive,” Ali said.

He added that if not for the competition from Middle-Eastern Airlines that offer competitive freight rates operating from KL International Airport, the export cargo figures from Penang International Airport would be higher.

“It would easily be a growth of 15% and not 8%,” he added.

Ali said the federal and state governments should quickly look into making the establishment of an integrated cargo complex at the Penang International Airport a reality.

“Currently, there are two cargo terminals. An integrated cargo complex would cut operational costs of freight forwarders and shorten clearance time,” he said.


Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2018/12/10/export-cargo-volume-at-penang-airport-seen-rising-8/#L6PDx7vZXafWUzoZ.99

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If compounded of 8% year-on-year, probably it could reach in the neighbourhood of 50% from the current level in five years time.


The contentious point, like anything with the Pakatan Harapan since taking over nine months ago is the ability to follow through.

Would MB Mukhriz able to muster the follow through of such a mega project, when there is so much uncertainty pertaining to politics, be it at national level, within the PH coalition, within PPBM and even at Kedah level.

Published in: on February 11, 2019 at 10:00  Leave a Comment  

No real weighted woes in TH

The Minister in charge of Religious Affairs Dato’ Seri Mujahid Yusof ought to be treating the facts pertaining Tabung Haji (TH) wholesomely accurate and without political overtone, because a lot is at stake here.

In a ‘shock and awe’ revelation made at Parliament this morning, Mujahid blamed TH for its Hibah exercise which he malignantly described as, “Illegal”.

The Star story:

Mujahid: Tabung Haji paid dividends illegally since 2014 as debts exceeded assets


KUALA LUMPUR: Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) has been illegally paying dividends (hibah) to its depositors since 2014, says Datuk Seri Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

The Minister in charge of Islamic affairs explained that the dividend payments had contravened the Tabung Haji Act 1995 as TH had more debts than assets in the previous years.

He cited TH’s 2017 financial report, tabled in Parliament on Monday (Dec 10), which showed that it has more liabilities (RM74.4bil) than its total assets (RM70.3bil).

This meant a total deficit of RM4.1bil as of Dec 31, 2017. 

First, its assets cannot be less than its debts and second, there must be profits to be distributed. 

“TH has been declaring hibah since 2014, not in accordance with the Act, because its assets have been less than its liabilities,” he told reporters during a press conference in Parliament on Monday (Dec 10). 

TH’s 2017 financial report, audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), had recommended the Government initiate a “comprehensive turnaround plan” to address the RM4.1bil gap, said Dr Mujahid. 

Under the plan, Dr Mujahid said PwC had proposed setting up a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to take over, rehabilitate and maximise the recovery of its underperforming assets. 

He added that the SPV has been approved by Cabinet and it will be in operation before the end of 2018. 

Dr Mujahid said that TH will be placed under the supervision of Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) on Jan 1, 2019, and expressed confidence that the turnaround plan will be implemented by the government as soon as possible

“Cabinet had discussed the turnaround plan thoroughly and given our full support and endorsement to the plan, so that TH’s financial position can be regularised and the people’s confidence can be restored. 

“To ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of TH, the government has decided to place it under the supervision of BNM administratively, from Jan 1, 2019.” 

Meanwhile, Dr Mujahid also said depositors may receive their dividend payouts for 2018. 

“Now that the restructuring plan is here, if we can fulfil two conditions and if there is profit, then definitely we will get (dividends). 

“But that will be announced before the end of the year, we have not close out accounts for the year yet.” 

Dr Mujahid also hinted that further action may be taken against the previous administration of TH. 

“Since 2014, TH has been giving dividends without fulfilling the two conditions. So, where did they get the money? I leave that to you,” he said. 

“That will be dealt with later,” he added.

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The announcement by Minister Mujahid is a politically very hazardous.

What is interesting in Minister Mujahid’s statement that no mention of the the clear policies of how TH’s treatment of assets, borrowings, added value or impairment of losses and investments.

Clearly, how then Auditor General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang signed off the audited accounts.

The fact is that TH is not facing not had faced liquidity and cashflow issues, troubled borrowings and in the exact line to explain 1MDB commercial issues, “Mismatch between assets, borrowings and cashflow management”.

Two Fridays ago it was revealed that TH made two Police reports against previous TH Chairman, Group Managing Director, CEO and several current key management personalities.

What is interesting is that they are pertaining to Yayasan Tabung Haji activities “inclined to be political” last year and a corporate exercise of disposal of subsidiary and assets of plantations in Indonesia, six years ago.

Were there red flags raised by then the Auditor General?

Another interesting fact is about TH’s holdings and investments in Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd (BIMB).

TH de-invested most of it’s holdings in BIMB throughout 2016 and 2017 and obtained a premium, which very positive to TH’s balance sheet and directly, the 9.7 million depositors.

That’s comparatively to present capital and financial market level and performance.

TH maintained operations for the benefit of depositors and aspiring Hajj pilgrims all over the country, on top a globally Hajj operations in Saudi, year-on-year, which what it was formed to do.

This is a point which Minister Mujahid should continuously stress on instead of making ‘shock and awe’ announcements, which is political in nature and would confuse TH depositors and aspiring Hajj pilgrims more and provide comfort for their savings.

The fact that exactly week ago, a foreign news carried a malignant media story to hit at TH, added to the political overtone of Pakatan Harapan leaders pawning TH at an effect with the expense of TH depositors and aspiring Hajj pilgrims.

What is interesting is the Malay-Muslim confidence of the Pakatan Harapan leadership in the Federal and State Governments, all and in sundry, is on the eroding and bearish trend.

More so in the recently concluded successful highly peaceful and incident free rally of 300,000 Malay-Muslim that send a thunderous message that their interest cannot be taken lightly or at their expense.

Minister Mujahid should strive to preserve the 9.7million confidence with uplifting developments in TH instead of using it for politics and at the expense of the too many simpletons who saved in TH and aspire to fulfil the fifth tenet of Islam.

Majority of those who saved in TH are not analytical enough to understand the corporate decisions made by professionals, to preserve the strategic interest in TH’s investments, which is to extend and strive for better benefits to more the 9.7million depositors and on record the over a million Hajj pilgrim aspirants.

The horror past ghost in making malicious political revelation at the expense of TH caused a few thousand to lose their assigned queue for Hajj, by closing their accounts due to a media shock started by a blogger. This happened a three and half years ago.

Minister Mujahid also announced the creation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to sort out TH financial and commercial woes is also to politicise and cast the aspersions that TH is heading into a deep financial crisis, which is heading the receivership and administration destination.

Obviously, some quarters would commercially benefit from the corporate exercises which would be undertaken by such SPVs.

On top of that to announce that Bank Negara Malaysia would be the governing authority over TH is to politically demonise the current corporate governance of TH which include the Auditor General and all the acts and authoritative bodies are incompetent or inadequate.

Minister Mujahid should call for the extensive due diligence and quicken the Police investigations on TH, instead adding into the political overtone.

In the final analysis, political overtone outweighing the strategic interest of the simpleton amongst rural and lifetime savers of TH, is a road for calamity of the majority Malay-Muslim, way pass the political lifespan of the current leaders in power.

The institutional credibility and integrity of TH should never in anyway be the pawn of political masters.

Published in: on December 10, 2018 at 15:00  Leave a Comment  

Malignant Media Mode

In the days of the ‘New Malaysia’, apparently the new administration still resorts to the old ways of presenting their politics and gunning the opponent.

The Malay Mail Online story:

Report: Tabung Haji deposits short of RM4b, at least

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — Malaysia’s dedicated savings fund for Muslims to perform the mandatory haj pilgrimage should have RM64 billion in assets, but has been found to be short of RM4 billion in deposits in 2016, according to The Sunday Times.

The weekend edition of Singapore daily The Straits Times reported that Tabung Haji (TH) has nine million depositors, but it has yet show the audit of its 2017 accounts following a change in its board and senior management after the 14th general elections in May, suggesting that the losses in deposits could have climbed since.

The newspaper also cited an anonymous senior official in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government saying the TH management had “faked last year’s accounts to justify its dividend payout” of up to 6.25 per cent just before the May 9 elections, which brings the total to RM2.7 billion.

Today’s disclosure cracks open further the lid on a new financial can of worms after the new TH board filed police reports against its former chairman and several other members of the senior management over two issues: that RM22 million in the fund’s welfare arm Yayasan Tabung Haji had been diverted for political activities last year; and the savings fund’s 95 per cent stake sale in PT TH Indo Plantations, a plantation company which had owned 83,000 hectares of land in Indonesia, to PT Borneo Pacific for US$910 million (RM3.8 billion) in 2012.

PH leaders previously claimed TH was being used as a pyramid scheme where dubious deals were struck to pay out dividends to depositors.

The pilgrimage funds are government-guaranteed and are further straining the Treasury that is already struggling with a sovereign debt of RM1 trillion that the new PH administration can hardly afford.

The Singapore paper said the government is mulling several options for TH.

One of them is to slash dividends for the next few years so that TH’s profits from its diversified portfolios can offset the obligations to depositors and narrow the loss of assets.

But the paper analysed that such a move could increase public anger which would further dent PH’s popularity which according to opinion polls, has dropped below 50 per cent since it took Putrajaya half a year ago.

Another option the government is said be to considering is a revamp of TH’s 150 real estate assets globally, and its stakes in over 100 listed companies, though it will be years before the yields can be seen.

“If we simply impair or cash out on our bad investments, depositors will start withdrawing,” an anonymous senior official was quoted saying.

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There is no transparency in this story. A personality or personalities within TH Group is still leaking out information, more so to foreign media, of information yet to be verified.

If there was actual dodgy happenings within any firm, then there are proper procedures have to be sorted out.

The foreign media quoted a senior PH official, which only provide the slant of this story is on a political bias.

Then again, the ruling party of the new Federal Government had been on ‘Blame-Game’ mode and overwhelming use the ‘Trial by Media’ bias and propaganda machine, to rationalise for their own failures of managing the nation.

The fact is that the economy is on a bearish trend when RM exchange to USD is on the rise, KLCI already lost 200points, commodity prices have gone down and Government investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd. already lost almost RM65b in market capitalisation if it’s portfolios.

Maintaining the integrity and public confidence for TH, which is the primary agency to manage the savings and investments of Hajj pilgrims and use the proceeds for generation of Hajj operations, is very critical.

In any move, commercial or political, the interest of the 9.7million depositors, who are 100% Malay-Muslim and form the majority of Malaysians.

Published in: on December 3, 2018 at 10:30  Leave a Comment  

Korban untuk orang Melayu?

Hari Wuquf 1439H menjanjikan segala hikmah dan barakah kepada umat Islam, tetapi tidak kepada Bangsa Melayu sekiranya dasar dan perlaksanaan untuk mendukungi usaha untuk memajukan mereka, dicadangkan diubah.

Laporan Nikkei Asian Review:

Mahathir advisers propose reviewing Malay privileges to reform economy

Long-standing Bumiputra policy favors ethnic majority, from scholarships to contracts

CK TAN, Nikkei staff writer

August 20, 2018 21:08 JST

Updated on August 20, 2018 23:22 JST

KUALA LUMPUR — Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s hand-picked advisers have recommended changes to Malaysia’s Bumiputra policy, a set of affirmative actions aimed to lift the social welfare of the majority-ethnic Malays. The policy, introduced in 1971, accorded a wide range of favoritism — from scholarships to access to government contracts based on ethnicity, rather than on merits.

Past attempts to revise the policy have been met with strong protests from conservatives in the country, including Mahathir, who argued that Malays would be diminished in their own birthplace without state support.

“We want to get it right this time,” Daim Zainuddin, the head of the Council of Eminent Persons, told reporters on Monday. The former finance minister did not reveal the recommendations but said the advisory council would induce “positive mindset change” and competitiveness of the Bumiputra, or sons of the soil.

“Any program proposed and developed should not be to the detriment of economic growth nor at the expense of other social groups,” Daim said.

The suggestions from the advisory council were part of a report, completed on Monday, recommending the government review decadeslong policies seen as promoting abuse of power and hampering progress.

The report, Daim said, was a culmination of 100 days of feedback from over 350 individuals at more than 200 organizations, which included regulatory enforcement agencies, trade associations and social activists.

To grow the economy further, the report proposed a new framework for investment incentives that are “outcome-based” for the promotion of sustainable and inclusive growth, he said.

The country’s fiscal position would be strengthened with a revised tax policy aiming to increase the government coffer in the wake of the abolishment of the goods and services tax, a crucial revenue component.

The recommendations, if adopted by the government, would overturn long-held practices, partly blamed for widespread corruption and abuse of power that hindered progress.

Critics say that the Bumiputra policy, for example, has led to corruption. Beneficiaries who have won government contracts without an open tender sell their stakes for a quick profit. Those who actually take on a contract will become beholden to continuous state support, without which they could not survive in an open market.

Former Prime Minister Najib Razak tried to revise the policy when he came into power in 2009, proposing to liberalize the economy to increase competitiveness. But his proposal was immediately slammed by Mahathir.

Mahathir, now in power for the second time, appears to realize how such discriminatory policy based on one’s ethnicity could hinder the country’s stated goal of becoming a developed economy by 2020.

The prime minister, now on a five-day official visit to China, lamented over the weekend at how Malaysia has fallen behind other countries due to the lack of a “learn and produce” mentality. “In Malaysia, we like to buy and that’s it,” Mahathir said in Beijing on Sunday at a meeting with Malaysian citizens living in China.

But it is not clear how ethnic Malays, who account for about two thirds of the country’s population, would accept any revision to the nearly five-decades-long Bumiputra policy. If implemented without a wide consensus, the revision could push the conservatives to throw their support behind the opposition, led by the United Malays National Organization, the party that Mahathir once belonged to.

UMNO has recently formed a loose alliance with the conservative Malaysian Islamic Party, or PAS. Both parties, which advocate the protection of race and religion as ideology, are seeking to challenge the Mahathir-led Pakatan Harapan, or the Alliance of Hope.

The five-person council, set up immediately after Mahathir came into power after the May 9 election, was tasked to advise the government on institutional reform and resolving the financial scandal in state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

Other members of the council include Zeti Aziz, the former central bank governor of Malaysia; Hong Kong-based tycoon Robert Kuok; Hassan Marican, the former president of Petroliam Nasional, or Petronas; and Jomo Kwame Sundaram, who served for seven years as the United Nations assistant secretary-general for economic development.

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Pengumuman Pengerusi Majlis Orang-Orang Tua bertentangan dengan isu yang sama, semasa Penggal 1 Parliamen XIV membahaskan soalan yang dikemukakan kepada Menteri.

Menteri Hal Ehwal Ekonomi Dato Sri Azmin Mohamed Ali meyakinkan Dewan Rakyat bahawa peruntukan untuk MARA menaja pelajar diperingkat ijazah ditambah kepada 58,000 pelajar IPT tempatan dan 7,000 pelajar IPT diluar negara.

Peluang pendidikan merupakan salah satu teras utama apabila Dasar Ekonomi Baru (DEB) diperkenalkan pada tahun 1971, bagi mengimbangi ketidak-sama-rataan dan menampung jurang sosio-ekonomi antara Bumiputera dan Bukan Bumiputera.

Apakah dasar untuk memberikan kemudahan, bantuan dan menaja pelajar Melayu, samada peringkat sekolah menengah atau menara gading, merupakan ‘menggalakan amalan korup dan salahguna kuasa, dan menghalang kemajuan ekonomi’?

Jika Kerajaan dibawah Perdana Menteri Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad menerima cadangan ini dan menggubah dasar dan perlaksanaan, terutama mengenai hal ehwal pelajaran bagi Bangsa Melayu, maka ianya amatlah malang sekali.

DEB menjadi ‘Korban’ demi kuasa yang beralih dari tangan orang Melayu yang mendasari kepentingan Bangsa Melayu tanpa menjejaskan hak kaum lain, kepada golongan majoriti.

Published in: on August 20, 2018 at 23:55  Comments (3)  

Zahid: UMNO Bangkit dan Memandang kehadapan

Calon Presiden UMNO pada pemilihan parti Sabtu 30 Jun 2018 ini Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi berhasrat membawa wadah perjuangan orang Melayu itu kehapadan dan terus mewarisi kerjasama dengan etnik lain tanpa menafikan hak mereka dalam usaha memartabatkan kepentingan orang Melayu dan Bumiputera.

Seorang pemimpin yang pernah menerajui organ parti pelbagai peringkat sepanjang tiga puluh tahun ini, beliau mempunyai rekod menyuarai dan membawa agenda akar umbi dan warga marhaen dalam UMNO.

Ini termasuk sebagai Ketua Pemuda Pergerakan Pemuda UMNO, mencabar Presiden UMNO ketika itu mengenai persepsi amalan ‘kronyism’ dan ‘pilih-kasih’ Kerajaan dalam ucapan dasar mesyuarat agung tahunan sayap parti pda tahun 1997.

Zahid juga pernah ditahan oleh Polis dibawah Akta Keselamatan Dalam Negeri (ISA) dalam episod pemecatan Timbalan Perdana Menteri dan Presiden UMNO pada 2 dan 3 September 1998.

Pendekatan Zahid apabila menjadi Menteri juga membawa perbezaan dan mengukir sejarah.

Doa untuk pejuang bangsa: (dari kiri) Birg Gen Rahim, Jen Tan Sri Zulkifli, Dato’ Seri Zahid, Dato’ Dr Latif dan wakil Kelab RAMD

Beliau merupakan Menteri Pertahanan pertama yang memberi penghormatan kepada 1 Rejimen Askar Melayu dengan secara rasmi mewakili Kerajaan Malaysia bagi pada upacara memperingati ulang tahun ke 70 pertempuran dimana 146 perwira terdiri dari pegawai dan anggota Askar Melayu gugur mempertahankan kubu di Bukit Chandu, Singapura pada 14 Februari 1942.

‘Projek Jiwa Murni’ yang diperkenalkan Kementerian Pertahanan merupakan strategi Kerajaan dibawah pimpinan Zahid untuk menggunakan sumber teinikal dan kepakaran tentera dalam membawa pembângunan terutama infrastruktur dikawasan luar bandar terutama pendalaman Sabah dan Sarawak.

Penerimaan rakyat keatas kepimpinan beliau sebagai wakil rakyat juga membuktikan keyakinan dalam memperjuangkan kepentingan mereka. Dalam PRU 14 baru ini, Zahid mendapat pertambahan majoriti berbanding dengan dua pencabar utama dalam pertandingan merebut keresi Presiden UMNO.

Apa yang lebih menarik ialah kerusi Parlimen Bagan Dato’ merupakan demografi pengundi dikalangan orang Melayu paling kecil peratusan berbanding dengan dua kerusi Parlimen pesaing beliau dalam pertandingan jawatan Presiden UMNO itu.

Ini mengukuhkan bahawa penerimaan kepimpinan Zahid sebagai wakil rakyat dikalangan pengundi Bukan Melayu juga lebih menyakinkan.

Zahid secara yakin menerima kepertanggung jawaban untuk meneruskan wadah perjuangan UMNO dan memperingkatan sokongan orang Melayu, yang terbukti masih mendukung sokongan rakyat dengan kedudukan parti yang ditubuhkan sebagai suara massa orang Melayu untuk menentang empayar kuasa besar dunia, iaitu Britain lenin 72 tahun lampau.

Latar belakang Zahid juga jalan sebagai seorang marhaen dan mendapat pengajian dari IPTA tempatan, berbanding dengan kedua-dua pencabar beliau yang berasal dari golongan menenegah atas dan menerima ijazah dari universiti di United Kingdom.

Beliau juga mempunyai rekod sebagai pemimpin UMNO yang menunjukkan minat dan keterbukaan menerima sebarang aspirasi akar umbi. Ini mudah dibuktikan dalam perjalanan sebagai pemimpin UMNO sepanjang 30 tahun ini menyantuni pelbagai organ parti disemua peringkat, seluruh negara.

Ini merupakan modal berharga bagi Zahid membukti bahawa beliau merupakan personaliti yang paling layak menerajui parti keramat orang Melayu untuk bergerak kehadapan membawa perjuangan nasionalism dan mempertahankan kedudukan Islam dan orang Melayu, sebagai yang termaktub dalam Perlembagaan Persekutuan dan parti UMNO.

 

Published in: on June 26, 2018 at 23:30  Leave a Comment  

Kilang Kirim & Co.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad made another U-Turn when he announced that the High Speed Railway (HSR) is postponed instead of cancelled.

The Star story:

HSR project postponed, not scrapped, Dr M tells Japanese media (updated)

NATION

Tuesday, 12 Jun 2018
11:23 AM MYT

image: https://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/online/2018/06/12/03/24/328476608_0-8.ashx/?w=620&h=413&crop=1&hash=F60FC1B2CBA519EF56811221C9372FDFF56CA41F

image: https://content.aimatch.com/default.gif

image: https://content.thestar.com.my/smg/settag/name=lotame/tags=Demo_Gender_Female_enr,Int_Sports,Int_Travel_Business,Int_Lifestyle,Int_Sports_Football,Int_Travel,all,Int_Parenting,Int_Property_Affluent,Int_Automotive,Int_Business_Finance,Int_Entertainment,Demo_AffluentAudience,Int_Property,Demo_Age_45to54_enr,Demo_Gender_Male_enr

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad seemed to have walked back from an earlier decision when he told a Japanese publication that the high-speed rail project had been merely postponed, not cancelled.

Speaking to Nikkei Asian Review on the sidelines of the Future of Asia conference in Tokyo, he said Malaysia cannot afford the project at this moment but signalled that the door is still open.

“We cannot say we will never have high-speed rail (HSR) in Malaysia. What we can do is we can postpone the project because it is far too costly at this moment,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia would need an HSR but it is something to only consider in the future.

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After being sworn in as prime minister, he had announced on May 28 that Malaysia will be dropping the HSR project with Singapore, citing it as an “unnecessary project”.

However, in his interview with Nikkei Asian Review, Dr Mahathir commented that the Singapore HSR project is merely postponed.

“We actually postponed the implementation of that project.

“High-speed trains are most effective where the distance is very long. But where the distance is short, it doesn’t contribute much.

“So we need to rethink high-speed rail,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also suggested the possibility of building an HSR “right through the Peninsula”.

“We cannot say we will never have high-speed rail in Malaysia – there will be a need for high-speed rail in the future,” he said.

Last month, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng also said the Government’s decision to scrap the HSR project was not only due to the high price tag of building it, but also steep cost burden to maintain the 350km link in the longer term.

This decision was also part of cost-cutting moves to slash the federal government debt of over RM1 trillion, Lim said.

He told the South China Morning Post that the new administration estimated the initial cost of the high-speed rail project was likely to be more than RM100bil.

Singapore’s Ministry of Transport said it had yet to receive an official notification that the project had been cancelled.

Read more at https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2018/06/12/hsr-project-postponed-not-scrapped-dr-m-tells-japanese-media/#uH0sXUZeYRGGku7l.99

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Raja Petra Kamaruddin dubbed this “Cancelling the cancellation”.

It is announcements such as this would erode the market confidence, if not now affecting the perception of the global commercial and capital, financial and debt markets towards Malaysia.

Earlier, Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir announced that the national debt is RM1 Trillion which saw the trigger of a series of reaction.

Bursa Malaysia recorded foreign funds dumped RM5.8billion worth of holdings and the KLCI dipped to 1770 points.

Published in: on June 12, 2018 at 16:30  Comments (1)